Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Government ethics advocates are raising concerns that Trump is blatantly dodging the Federal Advisory Committee Act, a 45-year-old law that requires advisory committee meetings — where influential business leaders are expected to give advice or recommendations to a President or agency — to be open the public.

Why it matters: This is the rule that initially caused Obama's similar CEO council to hold its meetings publicly. It's also the one that got Dick Cheney and his Energy Task Force in trouble. The point of the FACA law is to prevent special interests from having outsized sway in private meetings.

"I think the White House is skirting the law," Norm Eisen, former Obama ethics chair and Chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Axios. "If they're having meetings that are subject to FACA, or even close, they should follow the rules."

Beyond today's meeting: The group filed a complaint with the White House this week taking issue with Trump's use of an advisory committee to get advice on potential Supreme Court justice nominations. "The public is entitled to know how the committee conducted its business and the recommendations it provided the president," the complaint says.

Possible pattern: Watchdogs worry Trump is purposefully naming and structuring his groups in ways that allow him to avoid the rules. For example, the administration last week announced a "manufacturing jobs initiative" including more than two dozen CEOs and labor leaders. The announcement included a disclaimer: No consensus advice or recommendations resulting from group deliberations or interaction is expected or will be solicited. That language suggests officials are well-aware of the legal requirements around these kinds of meetings, Eisen said.

What they're saying: A White House official told Politico that the groups have been structured and named "to ensure everything we have fully compliant with all laws, including FACA."

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 10,902,347 — Total deaths: 521,940 — Total recoveries — 5,777,662Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 2,739,879 — Total deaths: 128,740 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Regeneron stops trial after drug fails to help patientsWhat we know about the coronavirus immune response — Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Business: Top business leaders urge the White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines.
  5. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  6. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  7. States: Texas mandates face masks in public spaces Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.

Markets swell as the economy shrinks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The economy is sputtering, but the markets are thriving — a highly unusual event that shows how the coronavirus has thrown all bets off.

Why it matters: The disconnect adds to the wealth gap. The richest 10% of households — who own 84% of stocks — are getting richer, while millions of out-of-work Americans cross their fingers that pandemic unemployment benefits will be extended.

13 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Coronavirus surges mark a "very disturbing week" in the U.S.

Fauci testifies to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told medical journal JAMA on Thursday that it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

What's happening: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.